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  • My poor brother. He tries so hard to start new traditions for us all as we make our way through the holidays here in the USA.

    Tonight we went to the Festival of Lights on a nearby island. Unbeknownst to me, this Festival of Lights culminated in a petting zoo/ safari with cows and miniature ponies, camels and goats. They could be ridden for a nominal fee or petted, with or without food (which also came with a nominal fee). The pen in which they were kept was tiny and the animals were surrounded by people. Children were running around screaming. Everyone was reaching out to touch, even with all the signs that warned of possible nips and bites from the animals.

    I stood back, not wanting to make a big deal of the situation for my brother's sake, but distressed as any vegan or animal rights supporter would be watching the poor animals being subjected to a very stressful evening.

    Thankfully, we left before the animal show began. That would have been WAY too much for me.

    -----

    As the months pass, I find myself becoming more righteous in my veganism and more determined to bestow upon others the virtues of living in support of animal rights. My objective is not to persuade or preach to others about living life without animal products, but I'm getting to the point where I can't understand people who seem to have no apparent concern about animal welfare.

    I wish I could be more equanimous about the choice (or non-choice) of others to consume animal products or pay money to see animals at petting zoos. I wish I could just live and let live. I remember being a consumer of animal products as a relatively new vegan, but what I remember most is that I was totally unconscious of my choice to consume animal products. I was also totally unconscious about the feelings of animals as sentient beings.

    I was the walking dead in this sense, but now I feel wide awake. That gives me hope that other people can be awakened to see the plight of animals in our current culture. But even that makes me sound like I'm becoming some vegan zealot out to 'save the world'.

    I wonder if this is a period all vegans and animal rights activists go through. I wonder if they come out the other side and live and let life. I'm guessing that this is one choice out of two paths that can be taken. I could take the route of trying to convert everyone I meet, or I can take the route of living and letting live, hopefully persuading others that there is value in my lifestyle through my actions rather than my words. And the way to this path in my life is to get back to my meditation and mindfulness practices (which are basically at an all time low at the moment), in addition to remembering that everyone is doing the best they can, even if that best isn't really what I consider to be good enough.

    I guess that makes me more human than vegan, which is something I hope I never, ever forget.
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